JPMorgan Chase is the newest bank to announce an end to financing all new oil and gas drilling in the Arctic, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Following a similar ban by Goldman Sachs, Chase is the largest bank in the United States to release such an updated energy policy.
Chase’s new energy policy will also end financing for new thermal coal mines and coal-fired power projects throughout the world.
“Now that Chase and Goldman Sachs have drawn a line in the sand, all eyes are on Wells Fargo, Citi, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of America,” Ben Cushing, Sierra Club campaign representative, said. “Who will be the last to recognize that financing drilling in the Arctic is an expensive risk that’s not worth taking?”
Chase was the biggest financier of fossil fuels in the three years after the Paris Climate Agreement was adopted at $196 billion. But action to stop such financing by the financial industry is necessary as Chase joins a dozen global banks to make the commitment.
“The Trump administration is pulling out all the stops to sell off our homelands for drilling, so big banks have a critical role to play in either supporting the destruction of this sacred place or keeping it protected,” Bernadette Demientieff, executive director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee, said. “We’re glad to see America’s largest bank recognize that the Arctic Refuge is no place for drilling, and we hope that soon other banks and the oil companies they fund will follow along.”
While fossil fuel exploration poses major threats to the Arctic Refuge, Chase failed to restrict fracking and other tar sands projects in its new energy policy, a press release stated.
“The fact that even the world’s worst fossil fuel banker wants nothing to do with Arctic Refuge drilling shows just how toxic an investment it would be,” Cushing said. “The public is watching, and any bank that supports destroying this unique landscape and trampling the human rights of the Gwich’in will face a powerful public backlash.”